Snell Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory
City: Little Rock
Category: Business Executive of the Year
When Rick Fleetwood joined Snell Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory in Little Rock in 1975 as a general manager, it was a perfect match.
“I’ve always wanted to be involved in a profession that made a difference in somebody’s life and enhanced the quality of life,” said Fleetwood, 63. “And that’s exactly what this company does.”
Snell specializes in custom-made and fitted prosthetic and orthotic devices from artificial limbs to braces.
Over the years, Fleetwood has been Snell’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. He became its chief executive officer about five years ago.
Founded in 1911, Snell has nine offices across the state and 56 employees.
Fleetwood declined to release revenue numbers but said the company had been growing every year. In 2007, the company reported $13 million in annual revenue.
Fleetwood, who served four years in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, said his management philosophy is to give authority to the people who are “actually on the front line to take care of the patient and the problem. And if they can’t do that, then what I’m there for is to back up ... and work with them to make sure that everything is provided the way that it should be done.”
Outside of Snell, Fleetwood is very involved with civic endeavors. He currently serves on 12 nonprofit boards, including United Cerebral Palsy of Arkansas, the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Central Arkansas and CARTI. He also is on the board on the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association and was a past chairman of the board.
Fleetwood credited Snell’s success to its supervisors and employees.
“People are able to have a quality of life because of the service that we provide,” he said. “God has blessed us. There’s no doubt about it.”